Sanctuary, church property disputes among topics of resolutions referred to committees
The final items of business were set Sunday for commissioners to the 222nd General Assembly (2016), as nine of 12 Commissioners’ Resolutions, and part of a 10th, were accepted for consideration during the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s biennial meeting.
The resolutions, which must be proposed by two commissioners from different presbyteries, covered issues ranging from sanctuary for refugees to recognizing the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.
According to the assembly’s standing rules, the resolutions are reviewed by the Assembly Committee on Bills and Overtures, which decides whether the items can be taken up, then assigns them to appropriate committees for consideration. Resolutions can be rejected if they deal with business already before the assembly or if they would require an amendment to or an interpretation of the denomination’s constitution.
Resolutions accepted and referred Sunday were:
- Two dealing with global escalation in the number of displaced persons/refugees. One, submitted by Karen Turney of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta and Elizabeth Shannon of the Presbytery of Tampa Bay, calls for the denomination to affirm the principles of sanctuary in response to the global explosion in the number of refugees. The other, submitted by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette of the Presbytery of New Castle and Adan Mairena of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, calls for the reaffirming congregations’ ministry of sanctuary. Both were assigned to the Assembly Committee on Peacemaking and International Issues.
- A resolution calling for peace, justice, and reunification in the Korean Peninsula. It was submitted by John Langfitt of the Presbytery of San Fernando and David Hutchinson of the Presbytery of the Cascades, and also was assigned to Peacemaking and International Issues.
- A resolution encouraging all PC(USA) congregations and councils to make prayer for the persecuted church around the world a regular part of their common life. It was submitted by Gale Watkins of the Presbytery of Grand Canyon and Sandra Gandolfi of the Presbytery of Kiskiminetas, and referred to the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee.
- Three of four recommendations made in a resolution seeking clarification and support for settlements of church property disputes. The resolution was submitted by David Green of the Presbytery of New Covenant and Robert Field of the Presbytery of Palo Duro. The Bills and Overtures Committee rejected a recommendation to “seek and work through developing conflict between state law and requirements of the Book of Order” because it would require an interpretation of the constitution. The resolution was referred to the Assembly Committee on Church Polity and Ordered Ministry.
- A resolution that would direct the Presbyterian Mission Agency to help the church make use of “The Foundations of Presbyterian Polity,” the first four chapters of the Book of Order. It was submitted by Gale Watkins of the Presbytery of Grand Canyon and Michele (Mickey) Stueck of the Presbytery of Santa Barbara, and assigned to the Assembly Committee on Theological Issues and Institutions.
- A resolution calling for the denomination to withdraw from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. It was submitted by Justin L. Marple of the Presbytery of Western New York and Karen Mizrahi of the Presbytery of the Pacific, and assigned to the Assembly Committee on Mission Coordination.
- A resolution calling for the PC (USA) to end support for and affiliation with the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation organization because of its opposition to peacemaking tactics that could create a lasting peace for all people in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It was submitted by Michael Gizzi of the Presbytery of Great Rivers and Bryan Franzen of the Presbytery of San Jose, and assigned to the Assembly Committee on Middle East Issues.
- A resolution calling for the creation of a special committee to conduct an administrative review to assure compliance with donor and General Assembly restrictions on the administration of the Jarvie Service. It was submitted by Jill Schaeffer of the Presbytery of New York City and Jonathan M. Brown of the Presbytery of Palisades, and referred to the Assembly Committee on the Board of Pensions, Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program and the Presbyterian Foundation.
- A resolution calling for recognition of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. It was offered by Blake Richter of the Presbytery of Blackhawk and Allen Kitchen of the Presbytery of Beaver-Butler, and referred to the Assembly Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations.
On the recommendation of the Stated Clerk, two resolutions were not referred to committee.
A resolution directing the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board to release to the public the final report of an independent investigation into the incorporation and funding of a California 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation was not referred because it is related to a pending civil proceeding. And a resolution to approve the use of Two States for Two Peoples as an informational resource was not referred because it deals with matters already before the assembly.